Our Team

Social development specialists with decades of
International development sector experience

Our Team


Sue Phillips

Managing Director

Sue is SDDirect’s Founder and so has been part of the organisation since our launch in 1999. She has seen SDDirect grow from an initial idea developed by a small group of professional colleagues into a leading and international provider of social development research and consultancy. Sue’s passion has always been to challenge conventional development policy and practice and to bring inclusion, equality and people’s voices into the heart of development assistance. This enduring passion and perspective has been central to SDDirect’s success.  Sue’s current role as our Technical Director is focused on looking outwards and staying connected to global trends to ensure that SDDirect’s work remains issues driven, relevant and is genuinely adding value as a UK-based organisation in a fast changing world.

Sue has accrued 30 years experience as a social development specialist in the UK and internationally. Before founding SDDirect in 1999, Sue previously worked as a Social Development Adviser for the UK Department of International Development in India and the UK Overseas Territories and for a number of UK based consultancy companies on long term assignments in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Jordan. Sue has worked across a range of policy areas, analysing the intersections between poverty, inequality and exclusion, with a particular interest in gender inequality. Her current interests include addressing gender inequality through changing social norms; tackling violence against women and girls as a particularly abhorrent form of discrimination against women and girls; harnessing the power and influence of media and communications in social change; and working with youth as agents of change.

Sue played a leading role in the design of the ground breaking DFID funded Voices for Change programme in Nigeria and continues to play a role in the programme as SDDirect’s Director in Charge.  Sue is also Project Manager for DFID’s Violence Against Women and Girls Helpdesk and Director in Charge for SDDirect’s inputs into the DFID What Works to prevent Violence Against Women and Girls Research Programme.

Sue is actively engaged in the movement to raise awareness and action on climate change.